The relationship between Sports and NFTs
An NFT or Non-Fungible Token is a unique digital token that represents ownership of a digital asset. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Think of the NFT as a property ownership certificate that shows the location of a particular property and the ownership details. People have deeds, each of which is unique and tailored to a particular property. When you exchange a property ownership certificate with someone, you also exchange the property with it. Let’s place this in the context of an NFT. The NFT is a digital certificate of digital assets, much like a certificate corresponding to a particular property. This asset can be a music file, a collectible, a graphic, an artwork, a sports trading card, or digital merchandise.
Read our blog on ‘Get started with NFTs’ to know more.
In the Sports NFT world, NFTs are most commonly referred to as collectibles because each token is different, like a baseball card.
How are Sports brands worldwide invested in NFTs?
The relationship between Sports and NFTs is a linear one? The amount invested by sports brands in this space has a proportional effect on the popularity of NFTs. Judging by the number of sports brands and athletes involved in the game, it seems that NFTs are the hottest thing right now.
So, what is driving the popularity of Sports NFTs?
Generation Z audiences influence the sport as today they have the freedom to co-create something special with brands. They connect and interact with their favourite brands. Industry reports indicate that 39% of sports fans are aware of cryptocurrencies, which is significantly higher than the general population. 24% of these fans expressed interest in NFTs.
Sports fans trust athletes who are influencers. 26% of fans see athletes as a great way to connect with brands.
Athletes involved in the growing NFT market. Here are a few examples –
The seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback has invested in Autograph, an NFT platform that aims to create unique digital collectibles for sports fans.
The Japanese tennis star launched her own NFT collection in 2021, which included a digital collage of her four Grand Slam trophies.
The Argentine soccer superstar partnered with Ethernity Chain to release a collection of NFTs, including digital artwork and collectibles.
Also known as the “God of Cricket” partnered with the digital collectibles platform Rario, to focus on cricket covering iconic moments of Tendulkar’s career in the form of official NFTs.
Crypto.com airdropped a collection of NFTs featuring four-time NBA champion LeBron James.
These players have invested in NFTs for a variety of reasons, including connecting with fans, creating new revenue streams, and exploring the potential of blockchain technology. As the NFT market continues to grow and evolve, it is likely that more sports players will become involved in this emerging space.
If athletes promote NFTs, the likelihood of audiences investing in NFTs is higher. And if there is an opportunity to engage with the brand…even better.
The emergence of NFT marketplaces is another reason for their popularity.
There are several marketplaces for sports NFTs, each with its own unique features and offerings. Here are some of the most popular marketplaces for buying and selling sports NFTs.
NBA Top Shot
This is the official NFT platform for the National Basketball Association (NBA). It offers a wide range of NBA-related NFTs, including highlights, moments, and collections.
This is a blockchain-based fantasy soccer game that allows users to collect, trade, and play with digital soccer cards. The platform features NFTs from more than 140 soccer clubs, including some of the world’s top teams.
This is a decentralized NFT marketplace that allows users to buy, sell, and create their own NFTs. It features a wide range of sports-related NFTs, including digital collectibles and artwork.
This is another decentralized NFT marketplace that features a wide range of NFTs, including sports-related NFTs. It allows users to buy, sell, and create their own NFTs.
This is an NFT platform founded by NFL star Tom Brady and entrepreneur Richard Rosenblatt. It aims to create unique digital collectibles for sports fans and features NFTs from a variety of sports and entertainment categories.
These are just a few examples of the many marketplaces that offer sports NFTs. As the NFT market continues to grow, it’s likely that we will see even more platforms and marketplaces emerge, offering new and exciting ways for sports fans to collect and trade digital assets.
Simple Steps to buy Sports NFTs on a marketplace
Buying sports NFTs typically involves a few steps, but the process can vary depending on the specific NFT and platform you are interested in. Here are some general steps to follow –
Choose a platform:
There are many platforms that offer sports NFTs, including NBA Top Shot, Sorare, and Rarible, among others. Choose a platform that offers the sports NFTs you are interested in and create an account.
Set up a digital wallet:
To buy NFTs, you will typically need a digital wallet that supports the specific blockchain used by the platform you are buying from (such as Ethereum). Popular digital wallets include MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet.
Add funds to your wallet:
You will need to add funds to your digital wallet to purchase NFTs. This usually involves buying cryptocurrency, such as Ethereum or Bitcoin, and transferring it to your wallet.
Browse and select NFTs:
Once you have set up your wallet and added funds, you can browse the platform’s collection of sports NFTs and select the ones you want to buy. Each NFT will have a unique identifier and price.
Purchase the NFT:
To purchase an NFT, you will typically need to submit a transaction through your digital wallet. This will involve approving the transaction and paying the required amount of cryptocurrency for the NFT.
Receive your NFT:
Once your transaction is confirmed on the blockchain, you will receive the NFT in your digital wallet. You can then view it, transfer it to another wallet, or hold onto it as a collectible.
Keep in mind that the exact process for buying sports NFTs can vary depending on the platform and specific NFT, so be sure to read the instructions carefully and follow the steps provided by the platform. Also, be aware that the value of NFTs can fluctuate greatly, so it’s important to do your research and invest wisely.
Brands, establishments and their NFTs
Several sports brands have started to invest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in recent years. Here are a few examples:
The National Basketball Association (NBA) was one of the first sports organizations to explore the potential of NFTs. In 2019, the NBA partnered with Dapper Labs to launch NBA Top Shot, a blockchain-based platform that allows fans to buy, sell, and trade officially licensed NBA collectibles.
The National Football League (NFL) has also entered the NFT market. In 2021, the NFL partnered with Sorare, a blockchain-based fantasy soccer game, to create official NFL NFTs.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has partnered with Dapper Labs to launch UFC Fan Token, a blockchain-based platform that allows fans to buy, sell, and trade UFC collectibles.
Adidas has also invested in NFTs. In 2021, the company partnered with Bored Ape Yacht Club, a popular NFT project, to release a limited edition line of sneakers that were only available to owners of certain Bored Ape NFTs.
Nike has not yet invested in NFTs directly, but the company has shown an interest in the technology. In 2019, Nike was granted a patent for a blockchain-based system for authenticating sneakers. The system could potentially be used to create NFTs that represent limited edition sneakers.
The reasons for sports brands to invest in NFTs are varied. Some see it as a way to engage fans and create new revenue streams. Others see it as a way to authenticate and track merchandise, combat counterfeiting, and protect intellectual property. Additionally, NFTs allow sports organizations to experiment with blockchain technology and explore new ways of interacting with fans.
Ferrari has shown interest in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. In June 2021, Ferrari’s parent company, Exor, invested $200 million in Bitcoin, and the company’s Chairman, John Elkann, has spoken positively about the potential of blockchain technology.
Sports NFTs worldwide
Besides USA, Sports NFTs are gaining popularity in Asia, especially in countries like China, South Korea, and Japan. The NFT market in Asia is rapidly growing and expanding, and sports NFTs are a part of this trend.
In China, for example, there is a strong interest in soccer and basketball, and the NFT market for these sports is growing quickly. The Chinese Super League has launched its own NFT platform, and there are several Chinese companies that are producing sports-related NFTs, such as 4DReplay, which creates digital collectibles featuring basketball players.
In South Korea, there is also a growing interest in sports NFTs, especially for soccer and baseball. The K League, which is the professional soccer league in South Korea, has launched its own NFT platform, and there are several companies that are producing NFTs related to popular Korean baseball teams.
In Japan, there is a long history of collectibles and a strong interest in sports, making the country a natural fit for sports NFTs. The NFT market in Japan is still relatively new, but there are already several companies that are producing sports-related NFTs, such as the J League, which is the professional soccer league in Japan.
Overall, sports NFTs are gaining popularity in Asia as more sports leagues and organizations embrace this emerging technology and as fans become more interested in collecting digital assets related to their favorite teams and players. As the market for NFTs continues to grow, it is likely that we will see even more interest and investment in sports NFTs from Asia and other parts of the world.
It is difficult to provide an exact share of sports NFTs in the overall NFT market, as the market is still evolving and data on specific sectors within the market is not always readily available. However, sports NFTs have been a significant and growing part of the overall NFT market in recent years.
According to NonFungible.com, the category of sports and gaming NFTs accounted for 13% of the total NFT market in 2020, with a total value of $32 million. This includes collectibles, game assets, and other types of NFTs related to sports and gaming.
In 2021, the share of sports NFTs in the overall NFT market is likely to have increased significantly, as several major sports leagues and brands have entered the NFT space. The NBA’s Top Shot platform, for example, has become one of the most popular NFT projects, with over $700 million in sales volume as of August 2021. Similarly, the NFL’s partnership with Sorare and the UFC’s partnership with Dapper Labs have both helped to bring more sports NFTs to market.
Overall, the share of sports NFTs in the overall NFT market is likely to continue to grow as more sports organizations and brands enter the space and as NFTs become increasingly mainstream.
The growth of NFTs can be attributed to several factors, including the increasing mainstream acceptance of blockchain technology, the rise of cryptocurrency, and the ability of NFTs to offer unique and verifiable ownership of digital assets. NFTs have also been embraced by artists, musicians, and other creators as a way to monetize their work and engage with fans in new and innovative ways.